A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Because Internet friendships are real, and so is cancer…

One of the most surprising joys of blogging has been the online friendships I’ve made over the years.

My husband finds this to be absolutely unbelievable. “These are professional networking contacts, not friends.”

He is so very wrong.

Professional networking contacts don’t mobilize and send a steady stream of superhero cards and toys to a contact whose 6-year-old son is enduring chemotherapy every Friday.

Professional networking contacts don’t change their Facebook avatar in support of marriage equality, or an acquaintance’s dying mother’s favorite food, or to tell the world that cancer can suck it.

Professional networking contacts don’t share marital tips, gynecological advice, and in-depth details for managing their kids’ chronic constipation.

Professional networking contacts don’t text each other late at night with exciting news, pics of new tattoos, or unspeakable tragedies like losing a friend to domestic violence.

I have made real friends through this crazy Internet thing. Real friends whose triumphs and heartaches touch me and inspire me every day.

Courtney is one such friend.

She is a schoolteacher, photographer, and blogger in Nebraska. She’s 33 years old and has two beautiful young children. She married a tall, handsome, funny, musical man named Scott shortly after college. Their love for each other is extraordinary.

Courtney and Scott

Last December, right before Christmas, Courtney shared with our blogging friends that Scott had just been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called angiosarcoma of the pleura.


Courtney’s unshakable faith, strength, and love have been an incredible blessing to witness these past eight months.

Not to mention her sense of humor…

Courtney and Scott bitstrips collage

I am so sad to tell you that my friend Courtney buried her beloved husband Scott yesterday. He was only 34-years-old and had just completed his final radiation treatment earlier this month.

It is heartbreaking to see the excruciating toll this awful disease took on Scott and his family. But you can also see what an incredible beacon of hope, love, and strength Courtney was for her family during this difficult time.


This is the Courtney that I have come to know and love through my blogging group. She lights up the room and is a gift to everyone around her.

I cannot imagine the grief that she is facing right now and will continue to endure without Scott by her side.

And halfway across the country, how do I even hug her? Or help her?

But this group of “professional networking contacts” has banded together to do the one thing we can all do—and that is pray.

Please pray for Courtney and her children. Pray for peace and strength and a never-ending supply of good memories. And please pray for a cure. Nobody should have to endure what this family, and so many other families, are facing every day in their battle against this hideous disease.


Our blogging community is also trying to raise $25,000 in memory of Scott to help our friend Courtney focus on her family right now, and not on the stress of mounting medical bills.

If you would like to contribute in any way, please click here to visit our Give Forward campaign.

Oh yes, my dears. Internet friendships are real. And they can make a difference.

Holding you all close in my heart, today and always,




  1. Allison Hart

    This is so perfectly said. I feel lucky to have my Internet ‘professional contacts’, who I communicate with more often and more intimately than many of my “real” friends and family. My heart is broken by Courtney’s loss. The money we’ve raised for her family restores my faith in people and community, even if it’s a new kind of community that happens through computer screens. Clearly it’s real.

  2. JD @ Honest Mom

    Beautiful, Leslie. Just perfect. I am constantly thinking about Courtney and I wish we could all go to her house and envelop her in a huge hug.

  3. Stephanie Scott

    Wow, touching, truly. I agree that connecting socially online is a valid connection. Sometimes my real life friends are so busy with kids and stuff that my online friends become those who I regularly correspond with. Different levels of intimicy, sure, but writing is powerful, and you can grow to know someone in unique ways by seeing that part of them for so long.

    I’ve had “internet friends” since the late 90s when it was considered really weird. In late 2004, just a month after I got married, the apartment my husband and I lived in was broken into. This was just after Christmas; wedding gifts and presents were stolen. The computer I’d saved two years to buy gone, guitars, whatever. A friend of mine I knew in person but met online first, organized and collected a fund for us that miraculously added up almost exactly to the cost of what we lost. Someone I’d never met before but knew from a close-knit online forum donated $400 to me. That’s no “I’ll throw twenty bucks your way” gesture. I was speechless. And humbled.

    Thanks for a reminder of the kindness of not-quite strangers.

  4. Angela S.

    This makes me cry because I just started my personal cancer treatment and my ‘internet friends’ have been way more than supportive, sending me boxes of goodies, cards, e-mails and lots of facebook love. Internet friends are a real thing.

    I’m praying for Courtney and her family.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you for this comment, Angela. I am adding you to my prayers as well and wishing you great success with your treatments and a very speedy recovery! Kick that cancer to the curb, girl! Big hugs. Thank you being here today.

      • Angela S.

        Thanks, Leslie! I donated to your friend. I hope they make the goal! <3

  5. HouseTalkN

    I am holding you close, friend. Beautifully said.

  6. lisa thomson

    Sending prayers, love and hugs out for Courtenay. What a terrible tragedy.

  7. Famous SpokesGoat Pricilla

    I am very sorry for your friend and her beautiful children. We send her goat hugs.

  8. Jessica

    The perfection of this has me in tears. So immensely lucky to have learned the same as you have about this blogging world.

  9. Heather Novak

    I’m sick to my stomach with the hurt here. I’ll be doing something about it. And donating, even if it is small.

  10. Jen @ Real Life Parenting

    This really strikes me. I only started blogging a few months ago so I’ve just begun to build relationships, but I can tell you that this really resonates with me. I have felt supported and have started what feels like a whole lot more than just “networking contacts.”

    I don’t know Courtney and hadn’t been following her story, but I genuinely feel for her and her sweet family. So many of you–her blogging friends–have shared with such sincerity and love that I can’t help but feel like I do know her through all of you.

    Blessings to her … And to you for so perfectly capturing this experience.

  11. Lady Jennie

    I am sad to read of your friend’s loss. This is very heartbreaking.

  12. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms

    Beautifully said. Connections of the heart and mind are real no matter how you make them. My heart is breaking for Courtney, but I am uplifted by your words. Thank you.

  13. The HerStories Project

    That was beautiful, Leslie. I can’t wait to see what the power of Internet friendship is able to do for Courtney’s family. We shared that on our HerStories FB page- such an inspiring testament to friendship. -Stephanie

  14. Ninja Mom

    Love you. Very much.

  15. Meredith

    Spot. On. I am crying. Thank you and xo.

  16. Lyn

    prayers going up

  17. Allysgrandma

    I have a group of women that I have been Cyber friends with for more than 8 years. I have met only 1 in person, but am sure I will meet another now that she has moved to the city my two older daughters live. We are real friends. One in the group’s house burned down, a single woman in her 50s. I sent her a gift certificate. I totally get what you are saying and am saying a prayer tonight for your friend.

  18. Courtney @ Stepping on Legos and Barbies

    Wonderfully said and so very true. I have experienced the same thing. Watching my best friend bury her husband after a VERY short 4 months to cancer. Left behind a wife and a 6 year old. My thoughts and prayers are with Courtney and her family. I hope her and the kiddos find peace and light in such a dark time. The friendships are real and sometimes stronger than the friend next door. Much love from Texas, Courtney. May your heart find comfort.

  19. Jeneral Insanity

    Although I’d never read her blog until I saw her post about the ‘”What if” question I loved’ (aka: kids wishing that hugs cured cancer), I have seen her story posted all over the internet in “our community” lately, and completely feel for her and her family. I’ve lost a few too many close friends and family to cancer, and it totally sucks. Watching a person that you love go through this battle is the worst thing that I can imagine happening to a family – be it “real life” or via internet – it’s excruciatingly horrible. I’m SO glad that the fund is still going for a few weeks because even though I’m a broke, newly single, mother of three – I want to do a little something to help. I get paid in two days, and have already added this fundraiser to my list of things to pay towards with this check. I’m also going to post something on my goofy blog to try to get a few more donations. Every little bit helps. Anything that “we” can help with financially right now to make her already painful life a little bit easier would be awesome! Thanks for sharing her story as well.

  20. Julie Warwick

    Donated and praying for Courtney and her family. I feel much closer to the many wonderful women that say just what I was thinking than I do to many of the people that surround me.

  21. Magical Mystical Mimi

    This is so incredibly heartbreaking.. Courtney and her children, and Scott too, have many prayers and thoughts and much love coming from Idaho. God bless them all.. (I was one of the lucky ones.. I am a survivor..)

  22. Lisa Newlin

    I’m so sorry for Courtney and her loss. It breaks my heart and I can’t imagine how she feels, especially since she has kids. My dad had brain cancer when I was younger and I know how stressful cancer can be on a family.

    I must agree with you that blogging friendships are real and genuine. I care about some of you bitches more than some of my friends who live in town. 🙂

  23. ali

    In my circle we call each other our imaginary friends. I think we all know how important imaginary friends are. Peace to you and Courtney.

  24. Andrea

    Love and prayers go out to Courtney and her family and you, her dear friend.

  25. Kat

    Our family has decided that cancer should be a four letter word- it’s ugly and we don’t equate it with pretty pink ribbons. BUT internet friends rock- I have several friends I met that way-some as far back as 15 or more years ago – and we’re still friends! And my daughter met her husband through the internet and we couldn’t ask for a better guy. May cancer and internet friends disappear though because cancer disappears one of these days….I can dream…

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